Lewis County contains approximately 75,000 residents, and is located in southwest Washington State. Prostitution and sex trafficking are documented problems in the county. For example, in 2010 a Joint Base Lewis-McChord Army sergeant pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of a child and attempted sex trafficking of a child. He exploited two runaways, a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old, by advertising them with nude photos of them on Craigslist.com. The older of the two girls worked out of his apartment in Lakewood (Shared Hope, 2011). In addition, a Lewis County man was arrested for murder, and had a prior conviction for soliciting prostitution and admitted to raping dozens of prostituted women in Pierce and King Counties.
To deter commercial sex buyers, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office has conducted at least one web-based reverse sting. Lasting several days and deploying teams in support of undercover female officers serving as decoys, police placed online advertisements for paid sex. Several johns responded to the listing and made arrangements to meet with the police decoy. The LCSO arrested them upon arrival. The police department released the arrestees’ names and other identifying information to the media.
- Web Stings:
- Background on local sex trafficking and prostitution: